The Diversion Program of the Juvenile court is designed to reach at risk youth before they become habitual delinquent offenders. In general, we are looking at intervening with youth who are between the ages of 8 through 12 who are just beginning to make themselves known to police agencies. Police officers often know which youth may become more problematic in the future if some type of intervention does not occur to interrupt this progression.
The types of interventions the Court will consider with the Diversion Program include tutoring, mentoring, counseling (family and youth), and age appropriate activities aimed at making the youth more resilient and a better, more responsible citizen. In Home Care services will be made available to these youth/families.
It should be noted that the Diversion Program is strictly voluntary on the part of the family. The Court has no recourse should our services be denied. We feel we have an approach with families that can make them feel less defensive and more apt to accept our assistance.
A simple referral form has been created and disseminated to local police agencies. This form must be filled out so that Court personnel can contact the youth and family and begin the process. A phone call to the Court prior to the form being submitted is also appreciated and would be helpful initially in sorting through appropriate referrals. One of the advantages of a Diversion Program such as this is the speed at which Court personnel can make initial contact with the family and youth after the precipitating incident.
Lastly, the Court feels this is yet another step in the direction of being more proactive and less reactive to issues which youth in our community are facing. The sooner we can become involved, the sooner the issues can be effectively dealt with and resolved. We thank our partners in law enforcement for partnering with us in this effort!